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March 6, 2007
CONTACT: Ward Mullens
ward.mullens@emich.edu 734.487.4400

President Fallon to name outside counsel to examine student death investigation

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University President John A. Fallon has announced that an outside legal counsel, not affiliated with the university, will be hired to examine the investigation related to the death of a student in December 2006.

 “The expectation for full disclosure is colliding with the need for discretion and confidentially and is creating the environment in which we find ourselves,” Fallon said. “This is a very complicated situation and there are many unanswered questions.”

Fallon said that the university will take the following actions:

• Order the preservation of any and all communications, documents and information related to the death of the student and the investigation.

• Request that the prosecutor review any and all information to be released in any form in this matter.

• Request that the prosecutor make public his concern for confidentiality in this matter.

• Engage a yet-to-be-named outside legal counsel to conduct an investigation into how the university handled this entire matter with respect to university policies and procedures; state, local, and federal statutes; and the bounds of reasonableness.

• Conduct a careful review, involving several people, of any and all releases of information in this matter.

Finally, Jim Vick, vice president for student affairs, has been placed on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation by outside counsel.

“This a very serious situation and I believe these actions are the appropriate response until the external investigation can be completed,” Fallon said.

No timeline has been given for the external process, but Fallon indicated that it would begin as soon as possible.

         

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